How to Become an IAS Officer:

Becoming an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer is a dream for many young individuals in India. IAS officers are responsible for implementing government policies, maintaining law and order, and providing good governance to citizens. If you are interested in becoming an IAS officer, here is the complete information you need to know:

Step 1: Qualification

To be eligible for the IAS exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a recognized university. Candidates in their final year of graduation are also eligible to apply.

Step 2: Age Limit

The age limit for general category candidates is 21-32 years, while for OBC candidates, it is 21-35. The age limit for SC/ST candidates is 21-37 years.

Step 3: Exam Pattern

The IAS exam is conducted in three stages:

  • Preliminary Exam
  • Main Exam
  • Personality Test (Interview)

Preliminary Exam

The Preliminary Exam is the first stage of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam and is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The Preliminary Exam consists of two papers, General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II (the Civil Services Aptitude Test or CSAT).

General Studies Paper-I covers Indian History, Indian and World Geography, Indian Polity and Governance, Economic and Social Development, Environmental Ecology, and Biodiversity. General Studies Paper II tests the candidate’s comprehension, interpersonal skills, logical reasoning, decision-making, and basic numeracy and data interpretation skills.

Both papers are of objective type and carry 200 marks each. Each paper lasts two hours, with a negative marking for wrong answers. To qualify for the Main Exam, candidates must score above the cutoff marks set by the UPSC in each paper.

To prepare for the Preliminary Exam, candidates must thoroughly understand the syllabus and the topics covered in each paper. Candidates should read and refer to classic books and study materials and practice solving multiple-choice questions from the previous year’s papers. It is also essential to manage time effectively during the Exam and attempt as many questions as possible while ensuring accuracy.

Main Exam

conducted for candidates who clear the Preliminary Exam. The Main Exam consists of nine papers, which are:

#Paper NamesPaper Number
1General Studies (Paper – I)250
2General Studies (Paper – II)250
3General Studies (Paper – III)250
4General Studies (Paper – IV)250
5Optional Studies (Paper – I)250
6Optional Studies (Paper – II)250
7Essay Writing250
8Compulsory English300
9Indian Language Compulsory300

Paper A: Language (Qualifying Paper)

This paper tests the candidate’s proficiency in a language they chose from the list of Indian languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Paper B: English (Qualifying Paper)

This paper tests the candidate’s proficiency in the English language.

Paper I: Essay

This paper tests the candidate’s writing skills and ability to express their thoughts clearly and coherently.

Paper II: General Studies I

This paper covers Indian Heritage and Culture, the History and Geography of the World, and Society.

Paper III: General Studies II

This paper covers Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International relations.

Paper IV: General Studies III

This paper covers technology, Economic Development, Environment, Biodiversity, Security, and Disaster Management.

Paper V: General Studies IV

This paper covers topics such as Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude.

Paper VI: Optional Subject Paper I

Candidates can choose an optional subject from a list of subjects provided by UPSC. This paper tests the candidate’s knowledge of the subject they have chosen.

Paper VII: Optional Subject Paper II

This paper is the second paper on the optional subject chosen by the candidate and tests their knowledge of the subject.

Each paper carries 250 marks and has a duration of three hours. The language and English papers are qualifying papers candidates need to score at least 25% on each paper to qualify for the next stage. The marks obtained in Paper I to Paper VII are counted for the merit ranking of the candidate.

To prepare for the Main Exam, candidates must thoroughly understand each paper’s syllabus and topics. Candidates should read and refer to classic books and study materials and practice writing essays and answers to previous year’s papers. Managing time effectively during the Exam and writing clear and concise answers are also necessary.

Personality Test (Interview)

Exam NameExam Number

The Personality Test, also known as the Interview, is the final stage of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exam. Candidates who clear the Main Exam can appear for the Personality Test.

The Personality Test is conducted by a board of competent and unbiased observers who evaluate the candidate’s personality traits, communication skills, analytical ability, and leadership potential. The Personality Test aims to assess the candidate’s suitability for a career in civil services and to gauge their overall personality and intellectual traits.

The Personality Test carries 275 marks and is conducted in a relaxed and friendly environment. Candidates are asked about their background, interests, hobbies, education, and work experience. The questions are designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of current affairs, national and international issues, and ability to analyze and interpret information.

To prepare for the Personality Test, candidates should understand their optional subject, current affairs, and recent developments in the country and the world. They should also have a good knowledge of their bio-data, which includes their academic and work experience, hobbies, interests, and achievements. Candidates can practice mock interviews with friends or mentors to get feedback and improve their communication skills and confidence.

Step 4: Syllabus

The syllabus for the IAS exam is vast and covers a wide range of subjects, including current affairs, history, geography, economics, politics, and the environment. Candidates need to have a good understanding of all these subjects.

Step 5: Preparation

Candidates must have a solid strategy and plan to prepare for the IAS exam. Here are some tips for IAS exam preparation:

  • Start early and study consistently
  • Understand the exam pattern and syllabus
  • Read newspapers and magazines to stay updated with current affairs
  • Refer to standard books and study materials
  • Practice mock tests and previous year’s papers.
  • Join coaching classes (optional)

Step 6: Application Process

The IAS exam notification is released annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in February. Candidates can apply for the Exam online through the UPSC website. The application fee for the Exam is Rs. 100 for general category candidates, while it is exempted for SC/ST and female candidates.

Step 7: Selection Process

The selection process for the IAS exam is based on the candidate’s performance in all three stages Preliminary Exam, Main Exam, and Personality Test. Candidates who score high marks in all three stages are selected for the IAS.


Becoming an IAS officer is not easy, but it is achievable with dedication, hard work, and proper guidance. Follow the above tips to prepare for the IAS exam and fulfill your dream of becoming an officer. Remember, consistency is the key to success. Good luck!

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